Around the country, education is one of the hot topics of debate. While students seem to be slipping further and further behind in the public school system, teachers are getting laid off and classroom sizes are growing. Along with the struggles students face during the school year, teachers must also worry about summer learning loss in the summer, which can throw classes off schedule each year when previous material must be reviewed. The situation gets worse when it comes to kids that are considered at-risk, growing up in extremely poor neighborhoods that are heavily exposed to violence, gangs and drugs.
One school that is making a difference in the life of at-risk youth is the Promise Academy Charter School. This school is run by Geoffrey Canada, the president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone. The Harlem Children’s Zone or HCZ is a program serving over 17,000 students in the city of Harlem. Each child that is part of the HCZ program is supported before birth all the way through high school.
The Promise Academy Charter School is part of the HCZ, and is making a huge impact on its students. Promise Academy students in the third grade tested with the highest scores in the district, with 83 percent of third graders being at or above grade level statewide. For middle school, 87 percent of Promise Academy eighth graders tested at or above grade level on the state math exam in 2009. At the high school level, 90 percent of students enrolled in the Promise Academy went on to attend college.
For children of all ages there are after school activities available to keep the kids safe and healthy. The Promise Academy Charter School not only focuses on education to keep at-risk kids engaged, but their after school programs help children develop a sense of community involvement. By giving these children the attention and educational tools they need, their chances of staying in school and going to college increase. HCZ has met the challenge of serving children in the community of Harlem and has managed to be very successful. The Promise Academy Charter Schools offer at-risk youth a chance at top notch education while attending a free public school.
image via HCZPromiseAcademy.com